Double Dragon III

Game Boy

Review by Will Matson



Graphics: 4

Sound: 2

Gameplay: 2

Overall: 3

When people think of the Double Dragon series, they know the series history of hit or miss games. When you ask somebody what the low point of the series was, they may tell you Double Dragon V or the Double Dragon Neo Geo game, but I think the series hit rock bottom with this Game Boy conversion of the third arcade game. The weak graphics and sound can be excused but the gameplay is the absolute pits and ruins the entire game.

The graphics are below average even for the black and white Gameboy. The characters are very small and undistinguishable. There are some nice cinema like scenes here and there to spice things up and some of the backgrounds are decent but otherwise a disappointment.

Whether or not you want to admit it, there are some classic Double Dragon tunes, for instance the Gameboy, NES and arcade adaptations of the first game anyway (no bias here, I just have never played the Sega or Atari ports, so sue me). This game has none of them, the music is very drab and the same sort of tinny beat seems to be recycled throughout all of the levels. The feel of the music also doesn't go with the game, it doesn't sound like it matches the action or levels. The sound effects are not much better.

The gameplay is where this cart really suffers. The enemies are frustratingly hard and move very fast. Even the weakest foes can move, punch and kick much faster than your character. It is difficult to actually hit an enemy and if you do, they can strike back so fast that they inevitably nail you a few times before you can hit them again. For every hit you administer on any enemy, they often get at least one hit on you, if not more, in return. As expected, at any given point SEVERAL enemies are working your fighter at once and won't let up.

The bosses and stronger enemies leave your character even more over matched. One particularly tough boss crushes your hopes and dreams in an instant as he splits into two fighters just when you think you have put him down for the count. Your jump kick and new 'wall kick' are even less successful and hit the enemy only about one third of the time you attempt it.

This game has a coin system in which you can purchase extra lives, an energy restoration, special moves (the same spin kick that you could do for free in earlier games) and weapons (which you also got for free in earlier games). The special moves and weapons don't make your fight any easier, the enemies are still too hard. Don't waste your coins on them. You're better off just buying extra lives whenever possible (you are only allowed to buy so many), you're going to need them.

It is almost impossible to make it out of any level, even the first one, without losing at least one life. It is even tougher to knock the motorcycle riders in this game off of their bikes than it is in the two NES Renegade games, if that is possible. You start with a select number of coins and can spend them as you see fit throughout the game. This game can be beaten, I have done it once (without the Game Genie no less). If you do want to see the end, there are some Game Genie codes that will enable this, it's the only sure way to make it all the way through. Here you go.

000-0E8-19E Infinite lives

Since many of you may choose not to answer the challenge, I'll throw you a bone as to what happens later on in the game. Your "travel guide" later turns on you and attacks you out of the blue near the end of one of the later levels.

Surprise, surprise.

On the bright side, the story line is a fresh change of pace from the usual affair of rescuing Marian. In this game, you must locate magical Rosetta stones before the "bad guys" do. I did not notice any of the enemies from the earlier games but I did hear that the blurry, unrecognizable boss from level 2 or 3 just MIGHT be Chintai from the original Double Dragon game.

If the enemies weren't so cheap and utterly impossible, this game would have gotten a better score, despite the poor sounds and graphics. A game doesn't need super graphics and sounds to be exceptional, but it certainly needs fair game play. I wanted to like this game and am a big fan of the DD series. I can not recommend it, though.

If you're desperate for a side-scrolling fighter for Gameboy, take a chance but beware! Personally, I would tell you to try one of the other Double Dragon games (the first one was a good translation, comparable to the NES version) on the console or get a Gameboy Advance and check out Final Fight One.


For those of you who frown upon the use of the Game Genie but are still stuck, I offer some tips as this game is very hard/unfair. In levels where you find a store close to some enemies (start of level 1, for instance), fight as many as you can until you run low on energy or defeat them all and then head into the store and buy an energy booster.

When you have the chance, always buy extra lives. If you can't do that, go for the energy restoration. If you can't have either of those two, you can get a weapon (it's your best attack, only because it is presumably the strongest) or consider saving your coins for a later level as there may be another store with extra lives/energy. Don't bother with the special moves, save your money.


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Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:56 PM